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UK: An employer’s guide to religion or belief in the workplace

December 2nd 2016

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published the final products from its three-year programme of work on religion or belief. These consist of three documents: Religion or belief – is the law working?, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the religion or belief legal framework; online guidance for employers on key religion or belief topics; and online training modules on religion or belief for line managers (developed with ACAS) and union managers (developed with the TUC).

Review of the UK legal framework

The review of the legal framework examines whether:

  • the legal approach to defining a religion or belief is effective;
  • the law sufficiently protects people when they manifest a religion or belief;
  • the law sufficiently protects service users in relation to religion or belief; and
  • the religion or belief exceptions under the Equality Act are sufficient and appropriate.

Guidance for employers

The guidance for employers picks up on key religion or belief areas identified in the EHRC’s 2015 call for evidence on religion or belief in the workplace and service delivery. The guidance consists of:

  • a downloadable guide to the law;
  • a practical decision-making tool showing employers a step-by-step approach to properly considering a religion or belief request;
  • and a series of frequently asked questions on topics including time off work, recruitment, food and dietary requirements, dress codes and wearing of religious symbols, opting out of work duties and expressing personal views and beliefs at work.

Training modules

The two training modules are 20 minute interactive sessions giving the user an overview of the law and showing its application in the workplace.

The documents are available on the EHRC website.